I seem to fall down rabbit holes again and again. You’d think I’d learn? Nope. I continue to enjoy this thing called fibre arts and all it has to offer! Some of my favourite projects to date have been these rabbit holes that I fall down continuously! This one involves weaving and all things Rigid Heddle Looms. My friend Diana had invited me over for coffee while she warped her rigid heddle loom with our guild president, who is a very experienced weaver. It was really fun. I learned a ton and felt like I had been introduced, not just to a whole new language, but a new world of possibilities with my handspun yarns.
With my husband’s help, I warped my loom on Monday evening (exactly a week ago) after putting it together mostly by myself (I needed help with the brakes). The kids were ‘helping’ me mostly by handing me the next pieces I needed and we had a lot of fun guessing what piece I needed next. I bought an Ashford 32” Rigid Heddle after seeing Diana playing with hers. I thought about the 48” but thought it might be just too big. I’m really happy with this size thus far! Warping took about two hours because I warped front to back instead of back to front. M was really great and helped me literally un-warp the loom so that I could re-warp from the back. It actually was a lot faster to do than I thought it would be. By 9pm, I was weaving! And what fun!
I placed an off center stripe in the warp that I hope will be pretty when I pull this off. I have about 10 inches left to go before taking it off the loom. I feel a bit nervous about that but it’ll be done by the time this goes live so I guess I survived! The yarns that I’m using are Sweet Fibre Yarns Avery Sport. I’m not sure if this base is available any more but it has a lovely sheen. The two skeins were bought to ‘go together’ in something but I just never cast on anything. I love the dark teal (Spirit colourway) but it has ‘taken over’ a bit on the gold and green colourway (Tea Leaves). The fibre content of this yarn is 50/50 Merino & Silk. Hence the sheen! The project itself will be washed over the weekend and left to dry while I’m at work.
Of everything about this first project, the most ‘difficult’ has been getting the selvedge right. The skill of creating the right tension on each side is going to take lots of practice. That said, I’m amazed at how quickly I was able to achieve an ‘acceptable’ selvedge. I used a light beat (is that the right terminology?) and didn’t press too hard with the heddle to create an open fabric (I hope!). I don’t want something too dense or tight as this isn’t meant to be a rigid, thick table runner but a soft, drapey scarf. Based on my ends per inch (oooh this new language), I could have used my 10 heddle but I decided to stick with the 7.5 to create that looser fabric. I ordered the three smaller heddles with the loom right away to minimize the re-ordering later. I knew I’d want them eventually because I spin a lot of fingering weight yarn!
I’m really happy with the process of this first project. Is weaving faster than knitting? Definitely. Will I never knit again? Absolutely not. To me, this is one more craft to add to my repertoire and I’m so pleased to be able to finally be making fabric! My goal is to one day weave for clothing … but that’ll come, One Day.
Okay, I’m off to finish this and get it off the loom. Wish me luck!